Broomberg and Chanarin
‘Anniversary of a Revolution (Parsed)’, 2019

Broomberg & Chanarin’s Anniversary of a Revolution (Parsed), 2019 was originally commissioned by V-A-C Foundation and Whitechapel Gallery and was premiered as a live intervention at Whitechapel Gallery Zilkha Auditorium on 27th September 2019.

The work is a response to Dziga Vertov’s (1896–1954) legendary film Anniversary of the Revolution (1918). Considered lost for nearly a century before being rediscovered in the Russian State Archives, the film is regarded as the first feature-length documentary ever made and is a critical document of the early days of the Communist regime in Russia. It covers the period from the February Revolution through the start of the Civil War and ends with a vignette of life on an early collective farm.

For their work, entitled Anniversary of a Revolution (Parsed), Broomberg & Chanarin collaborated with multi-instrumentalist Peter Broderick, who performed live at the premier, and with the London based creative technology studio The Workers. In their iteration the artists employed powerful machine-vision technology to map the physical movement in the film on to a digital rendering, using the mechanisms of 21st century surveillance to re-frame the historic archival footage.

Although it depicts some of the most important events that took place between the overthrow of the Romanov dynasty in February 1917 and the so-called Kazan Operation in September-October 1918 (including the Red Army’s successful campaign, overseen by Leon Trotsky), the intervention of Broomberg & Chanarin retro-actively introduces a skin of technology and a number of powerful tools and algorithms, quite unlike anything seen in previous eras of agit-prop and state craft – simultaneously updating and interrogating history. Employing both a colour-coded ‘pose-estimation’ computer programme running over the black-and-white film and a series of digital marionettes inspired by Alexandra Ekster (a Russian artist and contemporary of Vertov’s, known for her Constructivist and Suprematist paintings and stage designs).

About Broomberg & Chanarin 

Adam Broomberg (born 1970, Johannesburg, South Africa) and Oliver Chanarin (born 1971, London, UK) are artists living and working between London and Berlin. They are professors of photography at the Hochschule für bildende Künste (HFBK) in Hamburg and teach on the MA Photography & Society programme at The Royal Academy of Art (KABK), The Hague which they co-designed. Together they have had numerous solo exhibitions most recently at The Centre Georges Pompidou (2018) and the Hasselblad Center (2017). Their participation in international group shows include the Yokohama Trienniale (2017), Documenta, Kassel (2017), The British Art Show 8 (2015-2017), Conflict, Time, Photography at Tate Modern (2015); Shanghai Biennale (2014); Museum of Modern Art, New York (2014); Tate Britain (2014), and the Gwanju Biennale (2012). Their work is held in major public and private collections including Pompidou, Tate, MoMA, Yale, Stedelijk, V&A, the Art Gallery of Ontario, Cleveland Museum of Art, and Baltimore Museum of Art. Major awards include the ICP Infinity Award (2014) for Holy Bible, and the Deutsche Börse Photography Prize (2013) for War Primer 2. Broomberg and Chanarin are the winners of the Arles Photo Text Award 2018 for their paper back edition of War Primer 2, published by MACK.


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View the Collection

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